(if a car is not pictured here, it has been sold)

Don’t do this to your Bugeye Sprite!

We have not seen many axles break. But here’s one we pulled out this week.

Did someone say, “Where’s my tip?”

I would have previously said you are most at risk for this problem with an uprated engine and/or higher than normal output from your engine. But this power plant driving this axle was a stock 948. And I would have also said that most if not all axle snaps happen on the right side, which is the dominant drive wheel with Sprite live rear axles.

But this one is the left axle. So what happened? We will never know. Many of our parts and pieces have been swapped from car to car over the years, so perhaps this was a racer’s former right axle, which found a home on the left side of this particular Bugeye. Or maybe someone along the way was particularly hard on the clutch. Regardless, this is a good reminder to be gentle with your old British stuff. Even if you are a performance driver, remember to be gentle when engaging the clutch, or your axle may end up just like this one!

If you never want to have this problem, use an uprated nitrided axle, which we sell in our catalog which you can see at this link. These axles are much harder than stock, and thus stronger and less prone to breakage. The look exactly stock, except for a slightly iridescent color. Two of these babies should pretty much guarantee you won’t end up with the two piece axle shown above. This is what we used in our electric prototype, so we could make our 0-60 runs in under 10 seconds, without fear of shearing an axle.

Electric Bugeye Sprite update

Our Electric Bugeye in Classic Motorsports Magazine, January, 2019

We are close to completing our Electric Bugeye! This week, we were honored to have an appearance in the latest edition of Classic Motorsports.

We’ve been busy trimming-out the cockpit, where we confronted a new issue… how could we trim around the heavy gauge wires that run through the cockpit and carry juice from the batteries in back to the controller in front?

We chose to run the wires at the base of the inner rocker panels just like the factory did on a Stock Bugeye. Original car tail light harnesses ran forward the very same way. But the original light gauge wires are easy to hide under a masonite panel, while this new technology requires a much bigger void for a series of 12 gauge wires.

You can watch Kenny solve the problem in the photos below. First, he secured the wires tight to the inner rocker, as you can see below.

Next, he fashioned wood spacers to shim the original style panels outward, so that there would be room for the wires to pass behind. You can just see the black wires sheaths running under the white wood spacers.

Below, he covers the pieces in matching vinyl, in preparation for mounting them them in the car as you can see below.

Below you can see the piece mounted in the car…

And then he added the remaining flat panels on top, to finish off the look

Now, our high voltage lines are well sheathed in a masonite and vinyl soffit, and the interior still looks close to stock.

 We’re all really excited about the result, since it evokes, acknowledges and pays homage to the original factory way. Remember, our number one priority with this project was to protect the vintage car experience while adding a modern electric drivetrain. Thus we stayed with analog gauges and retained as much of the original interior design as possible.

This car will be done next week, and we will be starting on car #2 shortly. If you want us to convert your Bugeye to electric power, please get in touch soon, as our winter schedule of gas and electric projects is filling up quickly!

Don’t do this to your Bugeye Sprite

Corrosion in wheel cylinders is rampant. Here’s a stuck front.

Hydraulic cylinders are problemo numero uno on all British cars. Brake fluid absorbs water and that moisture corrodes the cylinders and the bores. Corrosion chews up the seals and leaks begin.

About 75% of the British cars that come through our building need new wheel cylinders, slave cylinders and/or master cylinders. The ones pictured here were on “Gavin,” the white Bugeye you see in the trailer in the post above. We changed all six wheel cylinders, the slave and the master, to restart the clock for this car.

You have two lines of defense against this issue:

1) Suck out and bleed out all your hydraulic fluid every two years to get the moisture out of the system. Look for amber, ginger ale colored fluid in the master reservoir. If it has turned black, moisture and contaminants are at work eating up your wheel cylinders and the fluid needs to be changed. 

2) Buy the best cylinders you can afford. There are $20 Chinese cylinders out there and they just don’t last. We sell uprated cylinders. They cost more. And they last longer. We want to save you the hassle of starting all over again when your cheap cylinders fail. Get the good ones, and you’ll end up with some extra free time to enjoy your car. Don’t buy the cheap ones!

We have all the primo cylinders for sale in our catalog, you can find them by clicking here.

Nasty rear.

Giant Bugeye Christmas Sled

Two Bugeyes loaded-up and ready to park under the tree

It was fun this year to finish two projects in time for Holiday delivery, and to then load them onto the same truck.

These cars “just fit” on long haul trailers

Above you can see the white Bugeye “Gavin” loaded in a tandem enclosed trailer and heading-off to a secret destination for a Christmas surprise. Behind is “London,” which we prepared and sent to a new home in Arkansas. Tony, who has now received London, said he wanted to sleep in the garage because he is so excited. He last had his Bugeye 40 years ago. On London, you can see new anthracite wheels above, which look stunning.

We have all kinds of great gift items in our catalog… there’s still time if you want to make a Bugeye Christmas for someone in your family too!

Restored 1960 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite for sale!

NOW SOLD to John in Ontario! Congratulations John!

AN5L 20416 is a great Bugeye we call “Miller.” It’s a nice one, I have been driving around in this car this week and really enjoying it. It’s tight and shifts beautifully (courtesy of a recently rebuilt transmission). We just replaced the gaskets in the carburetors to fix a leak. We also changed the master cylinder and slave cylinder, so now the car is ready to go to a new home.

Miller is almost completely stock, with the exception of front disk brakes and a few additional very popular upgrades you won’t regret, like a spin on oil filter which makes service much easier. We’re excited to have another very clean Bugeye in stock, ready to be packed into an enclosed trailer and sent to your door!

I got the car in Washington State where it has lived since 2010. It was a long time California resident, previously, and thus it’s a black plate car, with a notebook full of receipts back through the early 90s. A lot of work is documented between 1991 and 2010, all in California, including a new clutch in 1995. I am guessing that the car was restored through the 90s, based on the number of receipts included. There is no record of where the car came from before that, but it’s very solid throughout and looks great underneath too, so I am guessing this is a California car.

The car was fit with the original 948 engine and a rebuilt ribcase transmission, which was installed in 2002. The transmission still looks brand new and has not seen many miles. A front sway bar from a later Sprite was also fit. This is a nice upgrade which improves handling nicely. The disk brake kit was further upgraded with slotted and drilled rotors. With the exception of these tasteful upgrades, Miller looks and feels completely stock.

The Interior is quite nice, with an unmolested and stock dashboard, save a period ammeter, a useful tool so you can monitor the health of your charging system.

The engine bay is quite tidy. Speedo shows 9706, perhaps the mileage put on the car since it was completely restored.

This Sprite is also equipped with a nice top and tonneau. Original side curtains are included, for restoration. (see photos below)

Overall, this is a great car, and would make anyone smile. Give a call or email if you would like to take this car home!

Why your classic car needs new tires.

Everyone cheats on the date.

And it makes sense, most classics never even begin to wear out the tread. We just don’t drive them enough.

Here’s how you tell just how old your tires are:

058 date stamp

The tire above has a three digit date stamp. This means it was built before 2000. It would have made in the 5th week of 1998, or 88? There is no way of knowing (hence the change to four digits after 2000). All tires after 2000 have a four digit date stamp like the one below. That one was made in the 34th week of 2006, which means it’s 12 years old.

3406 date stamp

In actuality, both of these tires are in our discard pile that you see above. Even the 12 year-old tire is past its prime.

I can tell right away from the ride quality, the date stamp merely confirms what my butt already knows. Any tire more than about 8 years old has started to harden, and as such, it yields less and provides a firmer ride. Sprites need all the suspension they can get, and the tire is vital for a supple ride. Older tires also skitter along the tops of the peaks of any asphalt surface, instead of hooking up with the roadway. As such, an old tire doesn’t grip as well and certainly can’t brake as well.

I used to think this was all propaganda from tire sellers. But I have driven enough Sprites now over the same local roads to be able to feel the difference. Old tires don’t stick. Sprite suspension is so low tech that the tire is even more vital for a good ride and the safest drive. While I hate to put more tires into the waste stream, safety is more important, and if your British car stops 50 or just 10 feet sooner because the rubber is fresh, that might just save your Bugeye nose from some unsightly scars!

Please proceed to your car and check the tire date stamps today. 13 inch tires are cheap, about 1/4 of the price of modern tires for most SUVs.

Shameless plug: we sell the tire we use on all our restorations, you can find it by clicking here.

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